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National will slash student allowance eligibility in May’s Budget, reinforcing its narrow vision that education is a cost rather than an investment, says Labour’s Deputy Leader and Tertiary Education spokesperson Grant Robertson.
“National has begun a steady drip-feed of details about this month’s budget, and it’s looking grim for students.
“This latest move is one of too many which stem from the Government’s failure to ‘kick-start’ the economy.
“Limiting eligibility will hit low-income students hardest. It will either discourage them from studying altogether or pressure them to take out loans they cannot afford.
“The government has said that it wants to reduce the student loan balance, so it does not seem to make sense to push a policy that will increase it,” Grant Robertson said.
“To make matters worse John Key has signalled that the repayment rate for student loan borrowers will increase from its current 10 per cent. This will put pressure on already struggling graduates trying to set out on their working life.
“National needs to invest in our future. This is not just about university students, these loans and allowances support all kinds of trainees whose success is important to our economy and society. The government needs to stop seeing the cost of everything and the value of nothing,” Grant Robertson said.